Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture and other Information

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Brihadeshwara temple which is also known as Thanjavur Peria Koil or Peruvudaiyar koil is situated at the city of Thanjavur in Tamilnadu India. Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture is a magnificent example of Dravidian architecture and the temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The immense and intricate Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture attracts many visitors from all over the world.

How to reach

Thanjavur is easily accessible by rail road and air. The nearest airport and railway station is at Tiruchirappalli which is about an hour drive 58 km from Thanjavur. Thanjavur is also well connected by road to other cities in Tamilnadu like Chennai and Coimbatore.

Historical Significance

The original temple complex was built in the 11th century by the Chola Dynasty King Raja Raja 1. The shrines of Kartikeya, Parvati and Nandi were built in the 16th and 17th-century. The Dakshinamurti shrine was also built wsubsequently.

Brihadeshwara temple Dress Code

Like other temples in Tamilnadu, the devotees and visitors going to brihadeshwara temple are also expected to follow a dress code.

Men can wear full pant or dhoti with an upper garment like shirt or kurta. They should avoid wearing short clothes such as half trousers or shorts.

Women can wear sarees, churidars or pyjamas with properly covering upper garments. Pilgrims and visitors are expected to avoid wearing clothes such as mini skirts, shorts, low waist jeans, short t-shirts, middies or sleeveless tops.

Amazing Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture attractions

Vimana: the main tower of the temple which is an enormous structure is made entirely of granite and is 216 feet (66 meters) high. It is one of the tallest granite structures in the world. Shri Vimana is the main part of Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture with intricate design elements and carvings. It encloses the sanctum sanctuarum (Garba Graha). This inner sanctum houses a large Shivling which is the main diety of the temple.

Nandi: Another attraction of the Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture is the massive statue of Nandi bull which is 13 feet high and 16 feet long. This faces the sanctum sanctuarum and is made out of a single stone.

The massive dome: The main tower Vimana has a dome which weighs around 80 tons. It is carved out of a single stone. It is still a mystery how such a huge dome was placed on top of the 218 feet structure.

Mandaps : The main mandapams are Maha Mandapam, where devotees gather, and Mukha Mandapam. Both are adorned with intercate stone carvings. Antrala connect mahamandapam with the sanctum sanctuarum. The huge idol of Nandi is housed in Nandi mandapam. For doing parikrama there is a pillared corridor around the perimeter of temple.

Gopurams: Another attraction of Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture are the main tall structures called Gopurams at the main entrance. These are Keralantakan and Rajarajan.This gopuram have elaborate carvings depicting Hindu mythological stories. Huge ferocious looking monolithic Dwara Palas guard the entrances of these gopurams.

No shadow: An interesting aspect of Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture is that the 216 feet (66 meters) tall Shri Vimana is designed in such a way that it casts no shadow.

Dynamic sculptures: the play of light and shadow on the indicate sculpture work on the walls of the temple make them appear moving when viewed from different angles.

Amazing Chola murals: Fascinating mural paintings of Chola era adorne the walls of the corridors of the temple. These attract painters and historians from all over the world. These paintings depic Lord Shiva and other deities and kings and queens in their exquisite ornaments and dresses.

No binding materials: Another baffling part of Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture is that such a huge edifice is constructed without using any binding material such as mortar. The interlocking method used to hold the stones together have withstood test of time of certuries. It is said that the this enormous structure can even withstand earthquakes.

These are some of the amazing facts which make Brihadeshwara Temple Architecture an exceptionally special one.

Tip: It is always good to avail the services of an official tourist guide while visiting the temple. Guides are available at the ASI office outside the entrance of the temple.

How to reach Thanjavur

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